Dr. Brand presented on May 6th at 4:30 pm in the Sierra Room of the Faculty Center. Dinner followed the talk.
Abstract: Variation in social science effects across subpopulations of interest is ubiquitous. Social scientists routinely partition their samples into subgroups to explore how the effects of particular events or interventions vary, or treatments, often by variables like race and gender. Causal methodologists also explore how effects vary by selection into the treatment. In both cases, the key subpopulations are determined by the researcher based on theoretical priors. Developing machine-learning techniques, however, allow researchers, to explore sources of variation they may not have previously considered or envisaged, i.e. to explore data-driven treatment effect heterogeneity. In this paper, we analyze an important topic in the literature on social inequality, the effects of higher education on unemployment and low wage work, with well-defined theoretical guidelines as to effect heterogeneity of interest, and compare what we learn from conventional interaction and propensity methods to machine learning methods. We encourage researchers to follow similar practices in their work on variation in effects, and offer simple yet powerful tools by which to do so.
Bio: Jennie E. Brand is Professor of Sociology and Statistics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She is Director of the California Center for Population Research (CCPR) and Co-Director of the Center for Social Statistics (CSS) at UCLA. She is Chair-Elect of the Methodology Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and an elected Board Member of the International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committte on Social Stratification and Mobility (RC28). Prof. Brand is a member of the Board of Overseers of the General Social Survey (GSS) and a member of the Technical Review Committee for the National Longitudinal Surveys Program at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. She received the ASA Methodology Leo Goodman Mid-Career Award in 2016, and honorable mention for the ASA Inequality, Poverty, and Mobility William Julius Wilson Mid-Career Award in 2014. Prof. Brand studies social stratification and inequality, mobility, social demography, education, and methods for causal inference.
The Distinguished Women in Statistics Lecture happens quarterly.